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Friday, March 9, 2012

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC - Lexington County Sheriff’s Department fugitive investigators on Wednesday, March 7 arrested a 26-year-old man, who had illegally entered the United States from Mexico, on arrest warrants that allege the man used a machete to assault two other men in separate incidents.

Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts said Jose Hernandez Mendez, 26, of 101 Topaz Court, Lot 14, Lexington, turned himself in to fugitive investigators on Wednesday at the Lexington County James R. Metts Law Enforcement Complex, 521 Gibson Road, Lexington. Mendez turned himself in on arrest warrants on charges of assault and battery with intent to kill and assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.

Specially trained correctional officers at the Lexington County Detention Center who enforce federal immigration laws at the facility under the supervision of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) determined that Mendez illegally entered the United States from Mexico, Metts said. The officers placed a detainer on Mendez with ICE, pending further action by ICE. Mendez was being held on Thursday, March 8 at the county Detention Center.

In September 2010, the Sheriff’s Department began enforcing federal immigration laws under ICE’s supervision at the Lexington County Detention Center, Metts said.

Since September 2010, specially trained correctional officers have interviewed 819 aliens jailed at the county Detention Center who were taken into ICE custody and placed into removal proceedings, according to ICE. Of the 819 aliens, 558 aliens, or 68 percent, have been removed from the United States by ICE or voluntarily returned to their home countries.

An arrest warrant alleges that at about 8:30 p.m. on September 20, 2008 Mendez hit Donnie Moore several times on Moore’s back with the flat side of a machete, Metts said. The incident occurred at a home at 6037 Edmund Highway near Gaston.

An arrest warrant also alleges that at about 5:30 p.m. on May 5, 2009 Mendez used a machete to cut Victor Gomez-Alvarez on Gomez-Alvarez’s head as well as his left hand, Metts said. Mendez assaulted Gomez-Alvarez at a home at 210 Rolling Fox Road near Lexington with the intent to cause great bodily harm to Gomez-Alvarez.

As a result of implementing the 287 (g) Program, the Sheriff’s Department has reduced the population at the county Detention Center by about 10 percent, Metts said. In addition, ICE now pays the cost of housing inmates at the Detention Center who are in ICE’s custody.

The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department signed a 287(g) Memorandum of Agreement with ICE that enables specially trained correctional officers to enforce federal immigration laws under ICE’s supervision at the Lexington County Detention Center, Metts said.

The Memorandum of Agreement is authorized through section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, Metts said. That section enables officers to legally identify criminal and illegal aliens whom they might encounter and initiate removal proceedings for persons who are found to be in the United States illegally.

Specially trained correctional officers are authorized by ICE to check immigration statuses of all inmates who are housed at the county Detention Center, Metts said. Correctional officers detain inmates, pending further action by ICE, when the officers determine that inmates also violated federal immigration law.

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